Everywhere you looked on Saturday, SEC running backs were turning in huge stat lines.
From Mizzou’s Ish Witter running for 216 yards to LSU’s Derrius Guice and Kentucky’s Benny Snell each finding the end zone three times, there were plenty of impressive efforts to go around.
Then, there’s Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson, who had a fantastic day in a victory on a giant stage — against No. 1 Georgia. There is a lot to unpack from an incredible week of SEC action.
Here’s how the season-long SEC running back rankings look heading into Week 12 of the season:
10. Ish Witter, Mizzou (Last week: Not ranked)
Witter has quietly had a strong senior season behind Damarea Crockett (now injured) and Larry Rountree III.
However, against Tennessee on Saturday, Witter had the best game of his career, gutting the Vols’ defense for 216 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a weapon for the Tigers in the next two weeks.
Last week: 24 carries, 216 yards, 1 touchdown; 1 catch, 9 yards
Season: 116 carries, 720 yards, 4 touchdowns; 11 catches, 87 yards, 1 touchdown
9. Jordan Wilkins, Ole Miss (LW: 9)
Wilkins quietly keeps putting together good games, and did it again against Louisiana on Saturday.
He has risen steadily up the SEC rushing leaderboard and will have two more great chances to gain more ground against Texas A&M and Mississippi State the next two weeks.
Last week: 14 carries, 124 yards, 1 touchdown; 1 catch, 14 yards
Season: 122 carries, 754 yards, 6 touchdowns; 24 catches, 235 yards, 1 touchdown
8. John Kelly, Tennessee (LW: 7)
The Vols are unlikely to keep offensive coordinator Larry Scott now that coach Butch Jones has been fired, but Scott should be charged for a crime for how little he has used Kelly.
Even against a porous Mizzou defense, Kelly got only 15 touches for a measly 30 yards on Saturday night. With Scott calling plays, Kelly is likely to fall off this list before the end of the year.
Last week: 9 carries, 17 yards; 6 catches, 13 yards
Season: 154 carries, 711 yards, 8 touchdowns; 33 catches, 263 yards
7. Sony Michel, Georgia (LW: 6)
The entire Georgia offense had a terrible day against Auburn on Saturday, but the running backs performed especially poorly.
Michel got nine touches, but only for 21 yards in the 40-17 loss. He’ll need to get back on track against Kentucky this weekend if he wants to reach 1,000 yards this year.
Last week: 9 carries, 21 yards
Season: 99 carries, 731 yards, 9 touchdowns; 3 catches, 17 yards
6. Aeris Williams, Mississippi State (LW: 8)
Williams finally found the end zone a couple of times, and did so against a tough Alabama defense. His effort against a team that doesn’t give up many rushing touchdowns gives him a bump on this list.
With a game against a porous Arkansas defense coming this weekend, he could score a couple more times to get his touchdown total up.
Last week: 22 carries, 97 yards, 2 touchdowns; 1 catch, 9 yards
Season: 185 carries, 873 yards, 4 touchdowns; 13 catches, 95 yards
5. Damien Harris, Alabama (LW: 4)
Harris got back to his efficient ways over the weekend after a slight hiccup against LSU. On only eight touches, he nearly got to 100 yards and scored his 11th touchdown of the year.
Why Alabama isn’t giving him the ball more is anyone’s guess, but he continues to make the most of the work he gets.
Last week: 8 carries, 93 yards, 1 touchdown
Season: 98 carries, 823 yards, 11 touchdowns; 6 catches, 46 yards
4. Nick Chubb, Georgia (LW: 3)
Again, Georgia’s offense struggled mightily against Auburn, and Chubb’s lack of production really hurt the team.
Chubb is still fourth in the SEC in rushing yards, but his poor performance in the Bulldogs’ biggest game of the year hurts him in the rankings.
Last week: 11 carries, 27 yards, 1 touchdown
Season: 151 carries, 894 yards, 10 touchdowns; 2 catches, 20 yards
3. Derrius Guice, LSU (LW: 5)
Another week, another rise in the rankings for Guice, who blasted through the Arkansas defense for three scores on Saturday afternoon.
With games against Tennessee and Texas A&M remaining, Guice could end the year with two more huge days on the ground. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him once again on top of the leaderboard in rushing yards.
Last week: 21 carries, 147 yards, 3 touchdowns
Season: 164 carries, 929 yards, 9 touchdowns; 11 catches, 71 yards
2. Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky (LW: 2)
Another week, another huge game for Snell, who once again carried the Wildcats to victory.
Snell is tied with Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson (see below) for the SEC lead with 15 rushing touchdowns, and the Wildcats will need him to keep playing well to end the regular season on a positive note.
Last week: 17 carries, 116 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 catch, 20 yards
Season: 205 carries, 1,013 yards, 15 touchdowns; 10 catches, 72 yards
1. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn (LW: 1)
Johnson stepped up in a big way on Saturday against No. 1 Georgia, affecting the game both as a runner and a receiver.
Johnson leads the SEC with 17 total touchdowns. He’ll need to have a strong finish to the year to keep Auburn in College Football Playoff contention, but he has thrived against top teams so far this year.
Last week: 32 carries, 167 yards; 2 catches, 66 yards, 1 touchdown
Season: 198 carries, 1,035 yards, 15 touchdowns; 15 catches, 152 yards, 2 touchdowns
Source: Saturday Down South